Here comes Hearthstone Year of the Dragon

As the first of the new year’s expansions are announced it’s probably time to take a deeper look at what Hearthstone Year of the Dragon means for the game.

What changes are coming and what does it mean for casual and veteran players?

For those of you relatively new to a Hearthstone standard cycle, now is a time of change and an evolving meta. Hearthstone Year of the Dragon officially starts with Rise of Shadows’ release on April 10, 2019. Rise of Shadows is the first of three coming expansions for 2019.

Hearthstone Year of the Dragon

Blizzard puts a lot of thought and effort into its games’ narratives and Hearthstone is no different. For the first time in Hearthstone‘s history, a continuous story will stretch across all three expansions.

This means more solo adventure content throughout the year. Not much has been revealed for this year’s solo adventures other than what will be available for players to use. Nine new playable heroes, each with three Hero Powers and four starting Decks.

MASSIVE!

And with more chapters of the same story to be released, Year of the Dragon is shaping up to be a great one. I have always viewed solo adventures as a way to build confidence and enjoy the game casually. For a long time, I wasn’t playing against other people, I just enjoyed the single player game until I felt confident to play others.

I get trashed every game, but I’ve never felt so confident to try again and talk deck-building with others. So bring on the year-long story mode, catering to a wider audience is never a bad thing for an online card game in my opinion.

Out With The Old, In With The New

As soon as Rise of Shadows releases, we say goodbye to the card sets from Year of the Mammoth, which was 2017 content. Now, these cards don’t vanish forever, they simply move from the standard format into ‘wild’. You will still own all these cards and are be able to build decks with them, but only against players who have decks made of similar era cards.

Cards from Journey to Un’Goro, Knights of the Frozen Throne as well as Kobolds & Catacombs are retired from Standard. That means no more Death-Knight Jaina or Rexxar to just ruin my day. I’m low-key excited to see them go.

While I’ll miss some cards form these sets, I’m relieved to see the standard builds forced to change and adapt. It’s healthy for the game and helps new players stick it out a little longer.

All single player content from Year of the Mammoth and earlier remains available. And if you’re just a fiend for the wild format you will be able to purchase old card packs from the store. Some of us just want a shiny and full collection, Blizzard recognises that and caters to those of us who wanna catch ’em all.

Hall of Fame

Not all Hearthstone cards are created equal. Everyone knows this, that’s why there are basic, rare, epic and legendary ones. But every so often a few cards stand a head above the rest. Blizzard thinks those cards deserve to immortalised forever and I agree.

It recognises the power of these cards and retires them, but it’s far from sweeping an overpowered card under the rug. This year Blizzard is adding the above cards to the Hall of Fame.

We all humbly thank you for your service, enjoy retirement because you ave most certainly earnt it. But Divine Favor, Doomguard and Naturalize aren’t the only cards to join the Hall of Fame this year. Sometimes cards are released that are so mind-blowingly good they are in nearly every deck.

They shape the entire structure of that deck, and there’s little you can do to stop them. Please join me shouting a big “EFF YOU” to the additional Hall of Famers and their respective support cards.

That’s right, I’m talking about Baku the Mooneater and Genn Greymane.

The good news is, if you were using these cards you’ll be refunded a bunch of dust to craft something else. Since they are being retired out of the usual schedule. You will maintain your copies for the Wild format as well. So that’s good news for everyone. Even if you’re one of those odd or even players that just ruins me every time I play ranked.

The mood around the Tavern is one of excitement, as we close a chapter on Hearthstone we turn to a new one. Decks will change and new solo adventure content challenges us to adapt and improve.

I look forward to future Fireside Gatherings and how thee changes will impact Hearthstone esports. Check out the announcement trailer with the Blizzard team in the know. And don’t forget to check in with us for more card reviews as new sets unfold.

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Jamie Sherlock
Gamer, writer & sports enthusiast. I'm interested in all things RPG and stats. I believe fantasy sports teams is just DnD for the guys who made fun of kids who like DnD, but that doesn't stop me from participating in either hobbies. Unashamed Blizzard & Wizards of the Coast fanboy, if you got a problem with that you best roll initiative punk!

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